The Ecuador Team

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GARY: This is the distillery in Ecuador. I want you to meet our Ecuador team, Nicholas, our general manager of the Ecuador farm, and Eugenio, our distillery manager. I met Eugenio’s family in Ecuador in Cuenca when I started there in June 2005. I hired him and started training him as my distillery operator. Eleven years later, he manages the entire distillery operation in Ecuador. His beautiful wife, Rosa, and daughters, Naeli and Lisette, are also here.

Folliowing the ylang ylang harvest with Nicolas the farm manager on right.

The ylang ylang harvest, with Nicholas, the farm manager, on the right.

MARY: Yes, it’s a really interesting story I want to tell you quickly. When we met them in Cuenca, they were the caretakers of the building that Gary was leasing. We were friendly with everybody, so when Eugenio had a little bit of a cold, we went down to visit them to see what we could do to help. They were living in just one room on the ground floor of the building.

The floor was dirt, and there was a wire that went from one side of the room to the other. They used an old blanket or something over the wire to split the room in half. One half was the kitchen, which had just a little pot and a little stove; and the other side was a place where they slept, which was just cardboard and mattresses on the floor. We looked at that and thought, “Oh, this is horrid.”

As we talked, we found out that they had two little girls. “Well, where are they?” we asked.

They replied, “We didn’t have enough money to bring them with us, so they’re at home in Peru with their grandparents.”

Gary said, “No, no, no, no, no; we cannot have this.” So he sent Eugenio home to get the girls. Their daughter, Lisette, is 6 months older than Jacob. They were babies and grew up together.

Gary and Mary Young with Nicholas, Eugenio, and his family at the 2016 Grand Convention in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Building New Distilleries

2014 Highland Flats Distillery FinishedThis is the distillery in Highland Flats. However, now we’ve added another 21,000-liter cooker. How many of you have been to the Highland farm for the winter harvest? Fabulous!

Mona 2002 over 103,00 liters of distillation capacity

Here is the Mona farm. How many of you were there yesterday? Wow!

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Here is our second newest farm and distillery, Fort Nelson, British Columbia, Canada. Ben and Carol Howden came and dedicated a year to help me build this. We owe them a big round of applause. Without them and their son Cory, I’d still be building.

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But what a wonderful time. We worked right through the winter in temperatures dipping down to 55 degrees below zero, and we shut down for part of only two days and kept right on working.

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This is the harvesting of our black spruce trees, which produce an oil that is beyond magical.

 

The First Steam

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This picture is of the first steam that came out of the distiller. That’s my uncle Jack standing, who managed the St. Maries ranch for a year and a half while I was building and growing there and at the same time getting started and building in Utah. I was so excited when that steam came out that they said they could hear me screaming clear to Utah. I was so excited.

Mary thought the aesthetic look of the distillery was wanting, so on went the paint. Even Gary loved the beautification, although it didn’t help produce any more oil.

Mary thought the aesthetic look of the distillery was wanting, so on went the paint. Even Gary loved it, although it didn’t help produce any more oil.

To this day when I fire a new distillery, like in Croatia, and the steam comes out, I’m just as excited as on this day, because I know that it’s giving life to all of you around the world.

Then that little lady who was standing in the picture I showed you came along and says, “Gary, it looks really terrible. You need to upgrade it. So she went to town and bought paint and brushes, and she’s the one who painted the distillery, and it was beautiful.

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This is the St. Maries distillery today. Many of you have been there. Raise your hands if you’ve been there. Yes!

Essential Beginnings in Idaho

Here are some distributors from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, in the early days, helping me harvest with our mechanical harvester, called our hands, to distill it in that tiny distillery.

Preparing the ground is critical, putting in the right enzymes, the right organic foliage feed, to nourish those plants. If you don’t build the soil, you’re not going to have good oil. And that’s what we do with our Seed to Seal that nobody else in the world does.

In fact, years ago I was told, “The harsher the soil, the better the oil.” That man was totally wrong. I have proven over and over and over again—the better the soil, the better the oil.

These were the early days of harvesting in St. Maries in 1993. The first Seed to Seal complete process of collecting the seed and propagating our crops from the seed that we grew. You can see that as I’m standing in front of the clary sage, I haven’t aged one bit.

Gary and Mary checking on the progress of the first stainless steel distillery at St. Maries, Idaho.

Mary and Gary checking on the progress of the first stainless steel distillery at St. Maries, Idaho.

But yes, this is where it all began, the peppermint, the clary sage, the thyme, the lavender. And you know what? The first year that I brought lavender seeds back from France was 1986, and those seeds are the seeds that have grown all of your clary sage and lavender in St. Maries and Mona today.

This was the first vertical distillery I built in 1994, the first stainless steel distillery to ever be incorporated into distillation, perhaps in the world but certainly in North America. I built it in the garage of my old farmhouse in St. Maries and installed it here in my log wood frame structure I built, because there wasn’t money to do it with cement and steel. That came later.

Now you might notice that standing down there in the left hand corner of the picture, there’s a person standing to my left side by the boiler. That’s a woman who came to see the crazy man. She was a distributor at the time and didn’t believe a lot of the things that she was hearing.

Starting with a Quarter-Acre Plot

There are some Diamonds sitting up in that next level in those plush seats that they’ve earned, and I can remember one lady who said to me, “Gary, if you ever teach marketing, I’ll get up and walk out.” So I didn’t teach it. I didn’t want her to get up and walk out because she was too precious.

And that wasn’t my passion. Even though I knew it was an integral part of it, my passion was teaching the value of God’s gifts, the pure essential oils that He ordained for the improvement and betterment of his children on this earth.

Gary in the one-quarter acre plot in Spokane, Washington with his first crop of lavender.

Gary in the one-quarter acre plot in Spokane, Washington, with his first crop of lavender.

Seed to Seal means taking it from the field, from the dirt. But first you have to plant that seed. But if you don’t prepare and cultivate the soil and you don’t do the things that are important for it, how are you going to grow the right quality of plant that’s going to produce the oil that has strength? It won’t happen.

It all began in 1989 in Spokane, Washington, on a little quarter-acre piece of ground, where I started experimenting to see if I could grow lavender, clary sage, and thyme. Everyone was telling me that I was crazy, “This is not possible; Gary, you’re wasting your time; Gary, we don’t have very much money at this point, and you’re just throwing it away.”

Well, I’ve been crazy my whole life. I want all of you to know that if somebody says you’re crazy, take it as an honor, because they don’t recognize the genius and creativity in you, which is why they call you crazy. They don’t understand why you’re outside of their comfort zone.